President Donald Trump revealed that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus after Trump's close aide Hope Hicks also contracted the virus. He revealed the news early Friday morning, saying they would begin their quarantine "immediately" and "get through this together."
Trump's result came months after he has played down the seriousness of the virus and hours ahead of being tested on Thursday night, told an audience that "the end of the pandemic is in sight." He will quarantine for an unspecified period of time, forcing him to pause physical appearances and travel on the campaign rally just 32 days before the election on Nov. 3.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
In her own tweet, Melania Trump wrote about 30 minutes later that she and the president were "feeling good," but the White House did not say whether they were experiencing symptoms. The president's physician said he could carry out his duties "without disruption" from the Executive Mansion.
Trump made the announcement two hours after he said that he and the first lady were "awaiting their results" following the news that Hicks, a top White House aide with whom they had traveled recently on Air Force One, had tested positive. "Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19," Trump tweeted. "Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!"
The total number of people in the president's inner circle is unclear, as is the amount of staff who may have been infected. Vice President Mike Pence has not made a statement disclosing whether he has been tested or not, although he did say he and his wife Karen "send our love and prayers to our dear friends [Trump and the first lady]." As of Friday morning, COVID-19 has killed at least 207,789 Americans.
As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 2, 2020
Trump is at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, given his age of 74. His testing positive could also have major implications for the presidential election. Only three world leaders are known to have contracted the disease: Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Recently released audio of recorded interviews with journalist Bob Woodward show Trump admitting that he did not want to overplay the threat of COVID-19 to the American people. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward in March. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”